Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

How Coaches Can Work in NDIS



With the rapid growth of the Health and Wellness Coaching industry in 2020, and a spotlight on mental health and wellbeing after lockdown, there has been a surge in interest in coaching within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as a viable work option.

At a recent Ask the Experts Session for members of Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand Association (HCANZA),  NDSP Plan Manager and WCA graduate Neil Cumming talked about how NDIS works and what the opportunities are for health and wellness coaches.

If you’re interested in working in the NDIS in 2021 as a Health and Wellness Coach or as a Psychosocial Recovery Coach, this article will give you some pointers on how to get started.
NDIS Structure

The government-run National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) delivers the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to people with a disability. 
The goal of the scheme is to identify needs and provide support as early as possible, to help improve their outcomes later in life. 

Individuals qualify to receive a plan via an application and planning process which helps them to establish their NDIS plan and their goals which might include pursuing goals, becoming more independent, and/or being more active in the community and at work.

Support needs are based on the individual’s circumstances and disability, their specific needs and goals. The supports chosen for the plan must be both “reasonable” and “necessary” as defined by the NDIS.
Once a plan is established, the individual needs to work with their nominated plan manager (see below) to identify the supports they need and are eligible for, to monitor their budget and engage in reviews. 

NDIS plans and budget can be managed in one of three ways: 
1. NDIA-managed, 
2. Plan Managed, or 
3. Self-managed.

Coaching in the NDIS 


Do Coaches Need to be Registered Providers in the NDIS?
A starting point for working in NDIS is to consider registering as a provider.

Do coaches need to be register providers in the NDIS? The short answer is no, but there are differences in how you can work within the NDIS based on whether you register as a provider or not.

If you register as a provider, you have scope to work with clients whose plans are managed in any of the three ways noted above – so you have access to potentially more clients.

If you decide not to register, you will only be able to work with clients who are self-managed, or some who are plan-managed if the plan manager is a registered provider.

In January 2019, NDIS stated that over 250,000 Australians were receiving support under the NDIS, and this number has grown in 2020.

Areas a Coach Can Work in NDIS
Health and Wellness Coaches can work in Core Support, which includes assistance with daily life, transport and participating socially, economically and within the community.
They can also work in Capacity Building, which involves multiple areas including support coordination (organising the providers to support the individual), improved health and wellbeing, increased daily living and other areas.
As of July 2020, Psychosocial Recovery Coaches (aka Recovery Coaches) can provide support to people with a psychosocial disability. 

Psychosocial Recovery Coaching is a role that has been developed in consultation with people who have mental health issues, Mental Health Australia, and state and national governments. To work in this role, you need to have had either:
lived experience with mental health issues, or
Cert IV in Mental Health or Cert IV in Mental Health Peer support or similar, or
two years paid experience in supporting people with mental health challenges.

Psychosocial disability is a disability that can arise from a mental health issue, by improving their personal, social and emotional wellbeing while living with or recovering from a mental health condition. The individual defines ‘wellbeing’ in this case.

NDIS Coaching Pay Rates
Pay rates vary according to qualifications and role, and rates are by negotiation for all three categories of plan management.
At the time of writing, a Psychosocial Recovery Coach working in a Support Coordination role can earn $80.90 - $178.68 per hour depending on whether sessions are daytime, evening, weekends or public holidays.
A Health and Wellness Coach working in Improved Health and Wellbeing can earn upwards of $54.30 per hour, depending on whether they have additional qualifications that are recognised within the NDIS, and the level at which they are working.

Please visit the current NDIS pricing guide for more information.

What is it Like to Work with NDIS clients?
WCA Level 4 graduate Octavia Chabrier works in wellness empowerment within the NDIS. 
Octavia says “To be successful in a coaching role within the NDIS, the key is to build good rapport with Support Coordinators. I’m getting my name out there and am starting to get referrals. 
A Support Coordinator recently referred a client to me who wanted support but did not wish to work with a psychologist. The Support Coordinator described me as someone who could offer coaching, mindfulness and body work which represents a blend of my skills and qualifications. I love the fact that I can use the various tools in my toolbox to help people take simple, tangible steps toward their goals, according to each client’s unique needs.”

Summary
The NDIS offers an entry point for coaches to offer meaningful support to people in a variety of ways, and through a variety of entry points.
The first decision to make is whether to go through the provider registration process, and whether to consider further study in Cert IV Mental Health or related qualification.

As part of that, it is worth considering the type of work you might like to do and what you are qualified to do within the NDIS system, in terms of specific item numbers and pay rates.
From there, it is a matter of networking with various agencies in the system to become known, and to start working with clients.

This is a very abbreviated summary of a complex system.  

If you are interested in getting started as a coach within the NDIS and need support, we recommend reaching out to the NDIS for further information. 


References: 
NDIS, 2019. A quarter of a million Australians now benefitting from NDISNDIS website, accessed 25.11.2020.

NDIS website. Accessed 25.11.2020.

White, M. 2019. Working with the National Disability Insurance Scheme Framework. Wellness Coaching Australia website.

Boost Business Productivity with Effective Planning








If you’re like most coaches, you find that Monday rolls around and you are busy doing 1000 things to work on your business….along side the ‘other’ things in your life, perhaps another paying job, your kids, and chores.

As the week wears on, you feel scattered and spread thin, unsure of where to spend your energy.
It’s like you’re clutching at straws - doing Instagram here, email there, attending networking meetings and writing blogs. 
Then there’s all the free marketing training and e-books you’re downloading, and the overwhelming load of emails flooding your inbox.
The trouble is, none of it is getting you any traction.

That’s when you find yourself wondering:
How can I get clients to contact me?
How can I reach new people outside the people I know?
How can I make best use of my limited time?

This is where you start.

There are two steps to attracting clients:
1. Plan effectively, and 
2. Be truly productive.

Here’s how it works.

Planning Effectively

What happens when you plan and schedule effectively?
You know exactly how you need to spend your precious work time for most effect.
You have a set marketing schedule to attract a regular stream of clients.
You have set dates that you use to create compelling calls to action for potential new clients e.g., registrations close on X date, join now!
You know when you can schedule enough down time to relax.
You can work in your zone of genius and outsource the stuff you hate.
You can measure your progress by ticking off a master task and priority list

In a busy world, one of the biggest challenges is creating enough space to step back out of ‘doing’ mode, prioritise your work and plan effectively.

But when you do that, you take powerful steps forward and grow your business steadily, purposefully and professionally, attracting new clients and prospects as you go.
As a coach, you know that when you work with clients, it really helps them to zoom out and get perspective on their lives so they can distinguish real priorities from perceived priorities. 
It’s ALSO helpful in your own business.

What gets in the way of this?
Busyness, taking on too much, and lack of priorities.
Here’s how to plan effectively in business.

Using the Eisenhower Principle to Plan

In a 1954 speech, Former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was onto a clever thing. He said:
“I have two kinds of problems: the urgent, and the important. 
The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent”.
This statement became the Eisenhower principle, and it’s said to be how the former President organised his workload and priorities.
Time management is about spending your time efficiently and effectively. 
It’s about spending your time doing things that achieve outcomes and goals, rather than someone else’s.
The challenge for most people is that we tend to react to what’s urgent, and spend time firefighting and we spend to little time on what’s really important.

Here’s what the Eisenhow Principle looks like in a diagram.


Here’s an interpretation of what these squares mean.
1. Important + Urgent = Crisis mode. 
There is the unforeseen, and the last minute. 
Example: always rescheduling clients because you double book due to poor planning.

2. Not Important + Urgent = Busy. 
These are the fiddly tasks that are better of delegated, rescheduled or deleted – but you prioritize them ahead of tasks that earn you income or deliver service. 
Example: spending hours answering emails, checking Facebook, updating your website.

3. Important + Not Urgent = Productive. 
These are the tasks that achieve tangible outcomes and goals. You need time to do these creatively, properly and without rush. 
Example: Advertising, planning, connecting with past clients, following up with new leads.

4. Not Important + Not Urgent = Time Wasting. 
These are the menial or fun tasks you do first because it feels like you achieved something, or enjoyed your work. But these tasks block your success.
Example: Tidying your desk, designing next year’s workshop flyer, researching best diaries for 2019, calling a colleague to chat about the weekend.

Where are you currently spending most of YOUR business time?

Here’s an interesting 3-step exercise – next week: 
1. Record your working hours in half hour blocks. 
2. Classify every half hour as 1, 2, 3 or 4 according to the table above.
3. Tally up the time spent in each quadrant.
Ideally, you are spending 90% of your business-related time in the Important but Not Urgent quadrant, so you have time and space to do the important work of building your business in a calm, relaxed and creative way.

Planning Effectively – Next Steps

After you’ve worked out how you currently spend your working week, the next step is to work out:
What are the priority tasks each week? 
These are usually planning, marketing, client sessions and invoicing/paying bills.
Which tasks you can delegate, reschedule or delete?
These are usually administration, detail-focussed tasks, reading emails, social media, research and even blog writing!
After that, it’s a matter at looking at your available time, and scheduling in the priority tasks FIRST.

Be Truly Productive – Next Steps

Being productive doesn’t equate to being busy.
Productivity means that for a given amount of time, you are producing a result.
And the time required to complete any task is simply the time that you allocate for it.
To wrap it up, planning effectively is the #1 thing that facilitates productivity.
Next, you must create focus with effective time management. Here are 3 tips.

Identify Priority Tasks

When you know your priority tasks, you can create priority outcome goals, for example:
1 new Facebook ad posted this week
3 past clients contacted on Thursday
Joint venture proposal developed on Tuesday
One potential joint venture partner contacted on Friday

Use Time Management Techniques

Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique is a great approach to help you work in a focused way to get tasks finished in a set time. 

Set Boundaries

There are all sorts of apps that can block internet access, track time, or restrict access on your calendar.
Then there is just the good old fashioned “turn off your phone” approach.

Wrapping It UP

All that said and done, what works best for you in terms of being focussed, productive and organised?
Let us know your tips in the comments below.

Feeling Connected and Creating Clients in Business



When you work in an office as part of a team, you get a sense of connection each day as you interact with others and share ideas, jokes or brainstorm work problems.


When you start your own business, things can be a little bit different. 

Some people run their business from within another business such as a wellness clinic or studio, and so they experience that much-needed peer interaction. 

But what happens when you are flying solo, and operating from home?

We need a way to feel connected and supported in business so that we can find the motivation, energy, confidence and enthusiasm to persist.
On top of that, building professional and personal networks is a wonderful way to meet potential clients and referral partners who can send qualified referrals your way.

Let’s look at the various ways that solo business owners can build networks.

Joining a Health Professional Network

Allied Health professionals often have either formal or informal meetings, social events and/or online groups for the purpose of networking, referring and collaborating.
Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

By reaching out to the Allied Health professionals in your area and catching up for a cup of coffee or brief Zoom introduction, you can quickly find out which ones are ‘your kind of person’ and find out where and how these professionals network in your local area.

If you are a member of the Coaching Success Accelerator, you can find a downloadable, step-by-step process for reaching out to Allied Health Professionals. 

  • Action step: make a list of 10 practitioners in your local area, relevant to your niche or specialty area of coaching, and phone or email to book a time to chat.

Joining a Local Business Network

Your local Chamber of Commerce is an active business hub where you can meet and rub shoulders with decision makers in your community.

Their meetings are typically monthly.
Depending on where you live, your local Chamber may be quite active or not so much. 

In any case, it’s worth exploring the network to see who is involved, and to ask to attend a first meeting as a guest to see if it could be mutually beneficial.

Often, Chambers of Commerce have an active role in community projects, Council grants or industry-level initiatives that may be relevant to you (e.g. health related). 

  • Action step: Google search your local Chamber to enquire about meeting dates, opportunities to attend and what is typically discussed.

Joining a Professional Industry Association

Every reputable profession has an industry association that acts as a voice for its members.
Their meetings are typically monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.

Being a member of a professional association can provide opportunities to vote on important issues, but also, it lets your clients know that you work in a serious, credible profession that has a formal self-regulation process and quality standards.

Being featured on the home page of an industry association is another way for people to find you online, positioned in a professional environment.

In Australia and New Zealand, the premiere industry body is Health Coaches of Australia and New Zealand Association.

  • Action step: Contact HCANZA to enquire about membership.

Joining a Social Networking Group 

LinkedIn is a globally-recognised platform for networking with other businesses and potential clients.

It has an advantage of being “more professional” than other social media channels, so may lend credibility and good business positioning.

You may make valuable connections for referral, collaboration or potential clients here.

There are industry-specific groups where you can network with peers in specific areas of health and wellbeing.

This is a great place to go if your niche group is a professional, entrepreneur and/or manager.

Facebook also offers support in the form of industry-specific groups, like the Students of Wellness Coaching Australia group.

Start Your Own Group 

An easy way to build professional alliances is to start your own group. 
This is a good tactic for you if you are outgoing, love people and enjoy networking (otherwise it may feel like too much work – and you’re better off joining someone else’s network/group).

In a professional sense, this could be a mastermind, a specific collaboration project, or simply a peer support group.

Or even better – you can start your own Facebook or LinkedIn group to attract potential clients.  This is a bigger job than the others, but if you are ready to build a tribe of like minded people and have the energy to show up every day, this is a good option.

There are a variety of training courses that can help you do it right.

  • Action step: Consider whether you’re ready to start your own group and find a training course to help you do it right. Or, if you are not ready, join a big group where your clients might be, and observe how it’s done.

Summary

It’s easy to feel isolated when you transition from a workplace to your own solo business.

However, I’ve listed FIVE options that you could start exploring to build professional and client networks for the purpose of feeling supported, brainstorming ideas and creating clients.
To get started, choose the one that feels like the best fit and make plans to join and explore what it’s like to be a member.

If that works well, schedule in the number of meetings or days you would like to attend (keep it small and simple!) and start getting into the hang of participating, contributing and collaborating.

When that’s working well, you may like to explore another option.

Now, it’s over to you.

What is your easiest and most obvious starting point?

Supporting and Upskilling Fitness Professionals during COVID-19


As I finished my last work out at my gym last Monday, I felt so very sad for all the gym owners, personal trainers, instructors and members who were about to lose, hopefully temporarily, their incomes, their interest and for many, their community. As a former club owner and fitness professional I could empathise and only imagine how hard that would be to face.  

How do we fill those gaps?  I can speak from the experience of transitioning from club owner and trainer to Health and Wellness Coach Trainer and Coach (HWC).  

There are challenges for many in today’s current crisis, but I want to focus on two.

Firstly, what do our clients need in this worrying time? We know they still need to continue their fitness program, or as close to it as they can. Technology allows a wonderful opportunity of sharing group workouts and helping people create a way of bringing regular exercise into their new routine, be it at home or outdoors (in a big spacious area). Exercise professionals can help here by providing information and support remotely. But will that be enough?

There will be many people struggling with finances with worry about parents, with fear of the future and this can lead quickly to poor eating, sleeping or movement patterns. Stress can be a big obstacle to healthy living. This is where a Health and Wellness Coach can step in. HWC’S are trained not only in safe guidelines around areas of healthy living but in understanding the need for regular connection and support at the right time, and being skilled in knowing how to have those in depth conversations. 

In the UK there is a move to train health professionals in “Better conversations”.  One website stated that “Better conversations enable people to thrive by feeling more motivated, confident and in control of managing their own health and care.” (https://www.betterconversation.co.uk.). But there is a gap between telling people how to get fit and pushing them to train harder and talking to them about more personal information. Health and Wellness Coaching fills this gap. 

The second need is for exercise professionals to supplement the income that has probably been lost with the closure of their club or gym. There has never been a better time to upskill and learn how to coach people through this enforced lock out while recognising that the complexity of COVID-19 is going to raise many questions and concerns. Sometimes they may just need to talk about these concerns and a trained ear can help them make decisions about actions they take to protect both their physical and mental health. This is where training in Health and Wellness Coaching is so very valuable and can help immediately with little investment in time and money for both the trainer and the client.  


Health and Wellness Coaching Association now launched for Australian and New Zealand coaches




We are so thrilled to be announcing that an industry association for Health and Wellness Coaches in Australia has been established and officially launched this week - Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand Association (HCANZA). This is such exciting news for our graduates and current students undertaking their training knowing that you will now have an industry body working for you, to give a “voice” to your industry, increase credibility around your practice and raise exposure and promotion for coach members. 

HCANZA as a membership organisation supported by key stakeholders, such as professional medical groups, is driving the industry focus on building and setting a credible self-regulatory framework and standard that will allow health and wellness coaching to continue to flourish.

A great deal of work has been done by the Association Chair and Co-Founder, Linda Funell-Milner in bringing the association to life and we cannot thank her enough for spearheading this group together with the Board and Advisory team.  You will see our managing director, Fiona Cosgrove, holds a place on the Board in an individual status and not representative of WCA.

What does this mean for you and why you should join?

  • Join a membership body that works FOR YOU to elevate your practice by advocating to advance the development of an Australian & New Zealand Standard that is accepted by governments, the medical and allied health professional bodies, universities and other training suppliers in our region
  • Gain Professional Recognition from an Australian industry body specific to Health and Wellness Coaching, which, until now has not been available.
  • As a full member, you will have your professional profile listed on the website under the 'Find a Coach' section.
  • Gain direct links from affiliated medical and allied health professional association websites (e.g. ACNEM, AIMA) to the HCANZA 'Find a Coach' register on our website.
  • Network and support for you and your coaching practice
And much more….

Training requirements to be eligible for Full Membership with the Association

Completion of an approved training program with the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) is a training eligibility requirement to apply for full association membership. We are really happy to say that due to our Professional Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching being an approved NBHWC program, any graduates who have completed this (together with the Independent Study Project extra module), can apply for full membership now!  Note that you do not have to have undertaken the Board certification exam to be eligible, simply completed our training.  Our Diploma is of course also an approved program as the Professional Certificate is embedded within it.

If you completed (or are currently undertaking) the Professional Certificate and chose not to undertake the additional Independent Study Project module at the time of enrolling, we are providing all past students with access to this extra module for FREE to ensure you meet the full eligibility requirements. On completion, your certificate will be re-issued with the NBHWC approved badge. Not only will this allow you to apply for full membership for the association, but also now have you eligible to apply and sit the exam to become a Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Contact our office at info@wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au for more information. 

Training requirements to be eligible for Associate Membership

If you are an Allied Health Professional who:
  • Holds an Advanced Diploma or higher in a health-related area, AND
  • Have undertaken professional development work in coaching (for WCA students this is completion of Levels 1, 2 and 3) and are using a coaching approach in your work you will be eligible for Associate membership.  
For more details on membership level eligibility, click here to review their quick reference guide

Level 3 certified students wishing upgrade their coaching qualifications to be eligible for Full Membership

If you have undertake studies with us in our Progressive Coach Training Pathway (Levels 1, 2 and 3) and wish to upgrade into the larger qualification of the Professional Certificate in order to be eligible for full membership, we offer a gap training program that recognises your prior studies undertaken along with prior fees paid being brought forward. Gap training requirements are reviewed on a case by case basis, so if you are interested in find out more, please contact our office at info@wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au or 02 8006 9055 ext #1.

Membership Inclusions for Full Membership - $200 p/a 

  • Professional Recognition that your qualifications are of the highest international standards.
  • Professional profile on 'Find a Coach' listing – searchable on HCANZA website
  • Direct links from affiliated medical and allied health professional association websites (e.g. ACNEM, AIMA) to the HCANZA 'Find a Coach' section.
  • Use of HCANZA Member Logo (as defined by the guidelines) on your website and emails.
  • Discounted members rates for affiliated organisations' conferences, webinars, seminars
  • Open invitation to submit a blog article for approval and publication on the HCANZA website
  • Ability to nominate for a Board position held by an HCANZA Health & Wellness Coach when they become available
  • Advocacy to advance the development of an Australian & New Zealand Standard that is accepted by governments, the medical and allied health professional bodies, universities and other training suppliers in our region
  • Network and support for you and your coaching practice
  • Access to blogs and the latest research and industry developments
  • Quarterly Zoom Virtual Community meeting with an Expert or a Board Member
  • Monthly 'Business Hours' group discussions with a Board Member.
  • Members-only Facebook group
  • An opportunity to be a voice in a Special Interest Group (such as nursing or dementia) in the development of this new and rapidly growing industry
  • Accompanying this will be the support to assist you to increase the level of your qualifications with guidance and advice from qualified Health & Wellness Coaches.
  • Coming soon Discounted Professional Insurance

There are two other membership tiers available for those who are currently still studying, or those who have undertaken some study but have yet to completed an approved training program to give them access to the full membership. To find out more visit https://hcanza.org/membership-benefits/

Connecting with Clients Online




Even though we live in a digital world, there are so many businesses that still deliver services in a face to face environment. 

In the past week, I have spoken with personal trainers, yoga teachers, nutritionists and physiotherapists, many of whom have lost their job, their clients and their income. 
They are wondering how to pivot and cope with the unfortunate changes that have been thrust upon us, and how to keep their businesses going.
Luckily, most of those I’ve spoken with are trained Health and Wellness Coaches, so they have the capacity to pivot their delivery method and maintain their client relationships.

Coaching is one of the simplest services that you can deliver online, and it is also a much-needed service in these chaotic and uncertain times. Trained health and wellness coaches are equipped with the skills, structures and tools to help our clients stay calm despite the chaos, to adapt to change, to feel organised, to maintain some positive wellbeing habits, and to develop their own plan for moving forward. 

As a result, most of the health professionals I’ve spoken to are pivoting to online service delivery now, with a focus on interactive wellness workshops, group coaching sessions and 1:1 personal coaching sessions, all delivered via online platforms.

Let’s look at how coaching can be delivered online, and what sorts of platforms are available to help us deliver our services.

Delivering Coaching Online

Since coaching is based on individual or group conversation, it is easily translatable into the online environment.

Most coaches who live remotely or work nationally are meeting clients simply via their phone or one of the many online meeting platforms. 

They are having those important, real-time conversations that help clients develop their own strategies to start or maintain positive lifestyle changes. 

It’s easy to coach on the phone, but if you use a meeting platform like Zoom, you also get all of the body language cues and connection that come with a face to face appointment. This is great for my clients who are very kinaesthetic or interactive.

A lot of my clients like writing, and you can also coach via email in some cases! 
If clients need accountability or access to resources between live conversations, they can be provided by email, text, messenger, whatsapp, a Facebook group, or a membership portal. 

Best Online Coaching Platforms

For live meetings, there are several platforms that are easy to use and have free or low cost options. Here is a selection that suit most coaching businesses.

1. Zoom (read more)
A real-time online meeting platform that allows you to meet with groups or 1:1’s for coaching or interactive workshops.
Register for an online account and download the software, then you can meet instantly or schedule meetings, the platform is stable and well-known.

With the free version you can have 1:1 meetings with your clients for as long as you like; they can enter the meeting via a zoom meeting link or they can dial a local number to call in.
You can meet with cameras on, and can also share your screen (e.g. slides, images) or run a whiteboard and use a chat box. 

If you want to run groups of more than 3 for over 40 minutes, you’d need to go to the PRO (paid) version, which also allows you hold meetings for up to 100 participants, and to record the meetings. Higher plans are available for enterprises.

2. Skype (read more)
A real-time online meeting platform that may be more familiar to some of your clients.

You can meet up to 50 people in video calls or voice calls. You can record your calls and also use an encrypted instant messaging function.
If your clients aren’t on Skype, you can call landline and mobiles or send SMS by purchasing Skype credit. For a fee, you can also get a dedicated Skype phone number that includes voicemail, call forwarding and caller ID. 

3. Coviu Telehealth (read more)
Coviu is similar to the above platforms but is used mostly by health practitioners who connect with ‘patients’ such as psychotherapists, GP’s, physiotherapists, and psychologists.
No software is required, it’s a simple ‘click and consult’ program – it offers ‘click and go’ video calling. 

The platform offers document sharing and an online app, and there is ‘hold music’ if your client is waiting for you to finish another meeting.
Meeting quality is similar to Zoom and may be more reliable than Skype.

Prices for Allied health start at $19.95 per month.

4. Webinar Jam (read more)
Similar to zoom, a real-time online meeting platform that allows you to talk to, screenshare with and live chat with your audience.

In the Basic version ($499 per year) you can meet up to 500 people in video calls for up to 2 hours long and can have up to 2 different presenters on your account.
Calls are recorded automatically, and you get customisable registration pages, emails and SMS, and you can plug in a payment gateway to offer paid webinars to your audience.

Summary
In these times of social distances, and beyond that into reaching more people in your business, coaching via online platforms is a great way to go.

There are a lot of meeting platforms out there, but the four listed in this article have had good reviews.
My personal favourite is Zoom because I find it easiest to use, it’s the best value for my needs, and it’s reported to be more stable with fewer dropouts than other platforms.

Now, it’s over to you.

How could you pivot your business and transition into delivering a valuable online service, anywhere in the world?

How to run a business in stressful times


 
Everyone responds differently to external pressures. The way you respond depends on your personality, your thought processes and your personal circumstances.
But at the core of things, stress starts in your mind. Your perception (thoughts) determines your resilience. Resilience simply means the resources and capacity you have to cope with the circumstances around you.  

When your resilience is low, it affects your ability to make decisions, to think clearly and to be fully present with your clients - all of which are obviously important in relationship-based businesses like coaching.

When you’re running a coaching business in stressful times, there are different approaches you can take to support your wellbeing and to feel at peace with your business decisions. 

Your best approach depends on how resilient or stressed you feel. Most people will fit into one of three categories.

Three Categories of Business Owner Resilience

Category 1 – these people are feeling resilient, seeing opportunities to be of service, and feeling ready, willing and able to reach out and help others. People in this category may have fewer external pressures, may be more extroverted, or could be people who have done a lot of their own coaching around beliefs and behaviours. In any case, they have the resilience to be able to cope with stressful times.

Category 2 – these people are feeling fearful or overwhelmed, seeing roadblocks, and feeling unable to cope with the responsibilities of both business and life. These people may have more challenging circumstances, may be more introverted, or are yet to master the skills of emotional balance. They are unlikely to have enough resilience to cope with stressful times.

Category 3 – these people want to help and are seeing opportunities but becoming easily overwhelmed. They may be managing internal and external pressures but are close to capacity. They may have some skills around emotional balance and some level of stability in life. This means they feel resilient at times and are able to cope yet can fall back into overwhelm. Their resilience is ‘inconsistent’.

These are generalisations but they may help you identify yourself for the purposes of making rational decisions about what to do with your business.

Let’s look at some approaches for each category.

Business Approaches for Stressful Times

If you’re in Category 1, seize the day! Despite stressful times, you are best positioned to continue running your business or even expanding it, so that you can help others.

You may offer services that help others to;
  • Get some respite (e.g. online retreat)
  • Cope better (e.g. plans and strategies)
  • Maintain positive habits (e.g. visions and goals, accountability groups)
  • Develop new habits or routines (e.g. challenges or programs)
  • Create more joy, fun, freedom (e.g. uplifting classes or events)
Remember that showing up for others in stressful times takes time, energy and effective planning.

You may tend to attract clients who have similar resilience to you but also be mindful of others who are struggling and may have less capacity to cope with higher energy activities or sharing of information in a group setting.

If you are in Category 2, your primary concern is your own wellbeing, stability and your loved ones. 

In stressful times, you probably have limited capacity to truly be of service to your clients.

You may like to define a period (e.g. 2 - 6 months) to focus on your own physical and mental wellbeing, during which time you:
Close your business temporarily (e,g, block your calendar)
Subcontract another coach to service your clients
Reduce business activities to a minimum (e.g. working with a few select clients)
Consider Centrelink or other options for financial support if needed. Business offsets, grants or hardship payments are sometimes available.

Remember that as a business owner you may have legal obligations to clients such as coaching out their contract, refunding them, putting payments on hold or suspending memberships.

There is also the common courtesy of emailing your clients to let them know that you are taking time off, and to let them know what to expect from you in the interim.

Maybe that’s nothing, or you may continue newsletters, or you may schedule social media posts, podcasts or have a VA do that for you. Just make sure you tell your clients how they can stay connected or when you’ll be back in touch with them.

If you’re highly stressed then it’s likely you’ll be in decision fatigue, so you may find it easiest to discuss a strategy with your business coach or mentor to help you develop a clear plan going forward.

If you’re in Category 3, then your biggest priority will be emotional balance. 

That’s because you may feel motivated to make offers in the heat of the moment, or be super responsive to clients, but then realise you lack the energy or capacity to follow through with an appropriate level of service. 

You actually have the capacity to truly help people right now, but only if you are looking after your own wellbeing and being clear on how your capacity may change from day to day.

Your best approach will probably be to:
  • create a clear schedule of work and non-work activities and stick to it (e.g. a weekly plan)
  • reduce the number of clients you see each week, and set a maximum number of sessions per day
  • pause and reflect on your capacity when a client asks for help rather than just responding  
  • pause and reflect on your capacity when you get an impulse to offer help or run and event, rather than just rushing into action  
  • Automate your marketing activities.
Remember that a successful business is consistent how it shows up. It under-promises and over-delivers in value, not the other way around.

If you run your business in fits and starts, it may damage your reputation. You’re better off to dial down your activities and be consistent with them. 

SUMMARY

Those of us who serve others can fall into the trap of overhelping, overcommitting or overextending ourselves, and burning out.

The most important thing for us all as individuals is to check in with ourselves each day and reflect on how we are holding up, what our capacity is, and to maintain our own physical and mental wellbeing habits. We must do this to meet our own needs and to have the capacity to serve others.

The most important thing for any business - in good times and hard times - to be is consistent. Consistency builds a sense of trust, reliability and professionalism.

In times of stress, I encourage you to reflect on your resilience and make a decision as to what your business approach will be. Decide how long you will do this approach for. (E.g. 3 months? 4 months?) then take the appropriate actions.

You can revise your plan at any time but definitely at the end of your defined time period and get clear on how you’re feeling and what you will do next.

If you need support with your business in stressful times, these resources may help.

Summary of state-by-state stimulus measures

Australian Tax Office information for COVID 19

Business support for sole traders

Small Business NSW (includes info on financial hardship and bank loan deferment)

Business QLD (includes information on economic relief, payroll tax relief,  power bill relief and support facts)

Business Victoria (includes different support options including low cost business mentoring)

Telstra small business support
 
Tips for coping with COVID anxiety (Psychology.org, includes a list of resources)

How to Build a Referral Network with Allied Health Practitioners




Working in an industry where quality and credibility are essential, Health and Wellness Coaches can gain a huge advantage when starting their businesses by networking with allied health practitioners. 

It takes time to build rapport and relationship in allied health, but these specific relationships will help you to build the most meaningful connections.
And if you start building your networks when you start your business, you will more easily build qualified referrals and fill your sales pipeline.

In my local coaching business, I networked extensively with GP’s and involved them in the development of my program approach, and within 2 years was being listed on GP care plans and referred clients on a regular basis.

Let’s take a step back and explore what all this means and involves, so you can start building your own relationships with allied health practitioners.

It Starts with Trust

Even when someone is ready, willing and able to get help with their health and wellbeing, they will generally only buy from someone they know, like and trust.
As a new business owner, you may not yet have that trust and connection, and that’s why a referral network is so important.

Further, consider how much more weight an Allied Health Practitioner’s referral has, compared with a referral from a friend or family member. 
People see medical and health professionals as trustworthy and reliable, and that sentiment transfers to you as a referral partner.

It therefore makes sense to start building Allied Health relationships early on in your business, so you can position your business as credible, professional and reputable.

Referrals Build Referrals

An easy way to get referrals from Allied Health practitioners is to meet and network with them and refer people you know to them. Even if you don’t have any clients, you can become their client, or refer people you know to certain practitioners.

Do this and they will get to know you and will more likely want to reciprocate.

Which local practitioners could you use the service of and refer people to?

Networks Build Collective Knowledge

When you maintain your professional networks and relationships, you enjoy an added benefit of keeping your finger on the pulse with developments in your area, and in the health industry more generally.

For example, I recall a Medicare Local meeting that I attended in my Shire. 

I had the chance to network with Allied Health professionals I knew, meet new practitioners in the area, learn about some of the common problems our sector was facing generally in terms of funding, information sharing gaps and key client issues (some of which I could help with) and, I was able to make a couple of useful contributions to this meeting.

I learned very quickly that these sorts of events were worth attending and helped me to support other practitioners while also building trust in my network and identifying new business opportunities.

In addition, as Allied Health practitioners came to know me better, they understood how I helped people, and could send clients to me that were the right kind of client for my niche with the exact problem I helped to solve.

As they say in marketing, I was getting pre-qualified client referrals who were suited to my program and to my way of working. 

The impact of this was to increase my sales conversion rate such that around 90 - 95% of all enquiries would buy from me.

How to Start Building Your Allied Health Network

Here are five steps to getting started with your Allied Health Network.
1. Get professional business cards printed with contact details and website/social media links (ideally LinkedIn)
2. Develop your professional identity along with a clear, simple elevator pitch-style overview of who you help, what you do, and how you deliver that (see the Coaching Success Accelerator, Unit 1, for a step-by-step process)
3. Visit www.healthdirect.gov.au/Australian-health-services to identify health services in your local area and make a list of those relevant to your services and niche.
4. Decide on how you will approach Allied Health professionals to make contact – for example, would you 
a. send a letter, 
b. phone to request an in person meeting, 
c. book an appointment as a client
d. attend an Allied Health event, or
e. Approach a chronic disease organisation?
5. Start scheduling appointments and reaching out to those professionals to introduce yourself and discuss a referral process that suits you both.  They may have something in place that they use, or you could develop something together.

Summary

Referrals are a great way to start and build your business. 

The credibility and respect attached to Allied Health referrals may be as good or greater than referrals from the general public and, they are likely to be qualified leads.

That means you can convert a higher percentage of enquiries to sales.

Further, you get to keep your finger on the local and industry pulse and help other practitioners, plus identify business opportunities.
What are you waiting for?

It’s time to follow a simple, five-step process to building your referral network so you can general a steady stream of enquiries to fill your programs and sales pipeline.

How do we define success?


















This is not a new question and I am sure not the first time I have written about it, but it is such a significant area to explore that I feel it is worthy of re-visiting and reviewing our responses.  Answering the question will help us get a greater understanding of our client’s goals, aspirations and sense of achievement.  Like so many aspects of health and wellness coaching, as coaches we have to ask the question of ourselves to provide the most meaningful support for our clients.

There are many different factors that influence whether a person feels “successful” in life.
Let’s consider the external factors.  We live in a world where relativity is a fact of life - the inevitable tendency to compare helps us define normal, exceptional and perhaps just plain “odd”.  “We are wired for comparison” according to Mark Manson.  Success and failure are somewhere different concepts but both frequently influenced by what others think.

Common ways of measuring success:

Financial – many people feel that success is only theirs when they hit their financial goals.  Money is extremely important to them and they spend much of their life working towards that notion of “success”.  Whether this healthy or not is irrelevant – it just is what they do and how they feel. It may come from parental values, from a fear of not having enough or any one of a multitude of reasons from their past.  Interestingly, people who value money often report that they never feel financially sound and they are often striving for more to achieve that end.

Status – this is all about how other people see us.  Status cannot exist without there being a hierarcy.. Someone has to be below us to feel successful in this realm.

Accumulation – plain gathering of “more” drives many people and the sheer fact that they own an abundance of things makes them feel successful.  But do they ever stop the need to acquire?  Will there always be an empty void which can only be further acquisition?

The satisfaction that we get from achieving a goal  – or not?

“Society values success and there is a competitive edge to most aspects of our world” writes Chris Skellett when he describes why people can lean too much towards an achievement orientation.

Yet it is really useful to remember something about goals.  The pleasure we get when we succeed at an important goal can be quite short-lived.  We call this “post goal attainment positive affect”.  However, when we are working towards a goal, the steps along the way often provide “pre-goal attainment positive affect.  The reality is most pleasure is felt along the way – hence the term “the progress principle”.

But how does this all fit into our definition of success?

Define success internally, not externally
This phrase had a powerful impact on me.  It reminded me that so very often we define success based on what other people think.  (see all the above examples listed above.) If we can shift our measuring stick to one of internal values, we may well be on to something that can reduce stress, anxiety and the feeling of being continually deficient in our lives.

When we ask ourselves certain questions such as the following, we can get closer to refining the way we look at success in our own lives.
“Would you rather be well off and work in a job you hate, or have a lower income and work in a job you love?’
Would you rather be famous and influential for something that has little importance, or be anonymous and working on something that could make a difference to the world?”

When we truly define what is important to us, only then can we decide whether we are successful or not. Stand back and take a look at your life and decide whether there are days when you feel you are failing and ask whose measuring stick you are using?  Do you see yourself as successful in other ways?  Once we have this self knowledge only then can we support our clients identifying their ways of measuring success.

References:
Jonhathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis
Mark Manson,https://markmanson.net/5-mindsets-that-create-success
Chris Skellett, When Happiness is not enough

Personal and Professional Development for Health and Wellness Coaches


When you work as a coach, it’s important that you walk your talk, stay abreast of industry changes, and maintain your currency professional skills.
Your commitment to ongoing personal and professional development shows your commitment to self-improvement, professionalism and professional integrity.Let’s look at some options for personal and professional development.

Personal Development for Coaches

Four main strategies for personal development include:

1. Hiring your own coach
Hiring your own coach means improving your physical or mental habits to further your own personal growth, to deal with change in a healthy way, and/or to achieve new goals.
It also demonstrates that you believe in what you do enough that you’d also buy it yourself.

2. Self-coaching
Self-coaching could include post-session reflections, using thought models, talking to yourself or journaling as part of a pro-active routine. Being proactive with these habits means we are being role models for our clients.

3. Ongoing learning
Coaches are professional communicators, so it makes sense to learn or polish up personal skills that help us to become better communicators.

4. Mentoring
Conversations with mentors can help you to gain wisdom and perspective by learning from someone who has done or is doing what you seek to achieve.

Professional Development for Coaches

Industry bodies are organisations that aim to advance a specific profession by providing guidelines, standards and recognition of a professional’s education and experience. 
While not a formal requirement, Health and Wellness Coaches may choose to be credentialed by either the National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coaches (NBCHWC) or the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Whether or not you have membership with an industry body, ongoing education demonstrates your commitment to your profession and your clients.
Coaches who are certified with NBCHWC or ICF must commit to the following professional development requirements; these requirements provide a good guideline around ongoing education needs for non-certified coaches. 

National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coaches
Coaches who have NBCHWC credentialing are required to re-certify every 3 years by completing 36 hours of continuing education related to health and wellness coaching. 

International Coaching Federation (ICF)
Coaches who have ICF credentialing have specific requirements depending on the level of credentialing they hold. 

For the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) (the basic level), the requirements are:
Receiving 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months
At least 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education (CCE) completed in the three years since the initial award of your credential or since your last credential renewal
Mentoring involves coaching with feedback in a safe and collaborative way, to identify strengths and areas for improvement. It is highly recommended for coaches who have no means of obtaining feedback on their coaching skills and techniques.

Summary

If you work the field of personal development, then it’s essential that you walk your talk. 

Ongoing personal and professional demonstrate your commitment to your craft, your desire to grow as a person and a coach, and a means of maintaining currency and standards in the industry. 
A weekly personal routine is a mainstay for health and wellness coaches. Professionally, 10 - 15 hours of formal training plus additional mentoring (3 – 5 hours) per year is a valuable for increasing a coach’s capacity and skill. 




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